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Understood as being nothing more than fallible assumptions about the boundary conditions of an inquisitive worldview, this article seeks to argue that metaphysics and theology can, in fact, be pursued as a scientific endeavor. If we broaden our understanding of how perceived realities furnish feedback in order to refine preestablished human discourses, Ruist ( Confucian ) metaphysics and theology especially can be recognized as being historically pursued as a science by its own right....
Topics: Metaphysics, Theology, Science, Ruism, Confucianism, Kant, Luo Qinshun
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Aug 16, 2019 Eller, Jack David
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In this paper, I address the question of whether metaphysics and theology are or can become science. After examining the qualities of contemporary science, which evolved from an earlier historic concept of any body of literature into a formal method for obtaining empirical knowledge, I apply that standard to metaphysics and theology. I argue that neither metaphysics nor theology practices a scientific method or generates scientific knowledge. Worse, I conclude that both metaphysics and theology...
Topics: Science, Metaphysics, Theology, Exegesis, Cultural Comparison
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Disagreements about abortion are often assumed to reduce to disagreements about fetal personhood (and mindedness). If one believes a fetus is a person (or has a mind), then they are “pro-life.” If one believes a fetus is not a person (or is not minded), they are “pro-choice.” The issue, however, is much more complicated. Not only is it not dichotomous—most everyone believes that abortion is permissible in some circumstances (e.g. to save the mother’s life) and not others (e.g. at...
Topics: Abortion, Personhood, Mindedness, Sapience, Sentience, Self-awareness, Pro-life, Pro-choice, Fifth...
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Aug 14, 2019 Isbell, Charles David
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In keeping with talmudic tradition, this article presents a rabbinical thought experiment that questions the authenticity—indeed the very historicity—of the Apostle Paul’s Pharisaic Jewish background. By examining current interpretations of Saul’s Damascus road conversion, as well as Lukan and Pauline accounts in the New Testament, it becomes evident that there exists a striking disparity between Paul and other first century Pharisees, particularly since he took far too many liberties...
Topics: Saul, Apostle Paul, Luke, Sadducee, Pharisee, Luke-Acts
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Apr 20, 2019 Slade, Darren M. and Kenneth W. Howard
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Since the publication of Kenneth Howard’s 2017 article, “The Religion Singularity: A Demographic Crisis Destabilizing and Transforming Institutional Christianity,” there has been an increasing demand to understand the root causes and historical foundations for why institutional Christianity is in a state of de-institutionalization. In response to Howard’s research, a number of authors have sought to provide a contextual explanation for why the religion singularity is currently...
Topics: Religion Singularity, Denominational Switching, Social Memory, Religious Politics, Scientific...
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Apr 18, 2019 Francis, Robert D.
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The Emerging Church Movement (ECM) has attracted a surprising amount of scholarly attention for a phenomenon notoriously resistant to definition and whose impact and size have been challenging to quantify. This edited volume, Crossing Boundaries, Redefining Faith: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Emerging Church Movement , seeks to be a touchstone of the best scholarship about the ECM to date. Across ten chapters with thirteen contributors, the volume succeeds, although it is not without...
Topics: Emerging Church Movement (ECM), Emerging Church, Ancient-Future, Postmodern, Postcolonial
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Apr 12, 2019 Branch, Jeshua B.
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Termed the “religion singularity” by Kenneth Howard, the habitual fragmentation of institutional Christianity has led to the exponential growth in denominations and worship centers despite the annual growth rate of new believers remaining the same. Howard has concluded that denominations are unlikely to survive this crisis, although worship centers are much more likely to survive if they are willing to be flexible. The purpose of this article is to identify the epistemic trends that have...
Topics: Foundationalism, Institutional Christianity, Nondenominational Churches, Religion Singularity,...
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Apr 3, 2019 Slade, Darren M.
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Miracle eyewitness reports are of paramount importance to both the history of religions and contemporary experiences of religiosity. Although numerous miracle claims are frequently discredited, there are still countless tens of thousands who claim to have personally witnessed or experienced a miracle in their lifetime, including the vast majority of Pentecostal Christians around the world. The problem is that psychological studies consistently reveal that eyewitness claims are routinely...
Topics: Miracles, Eyewitnesses
The purpose of this article is to identify the function of the “sons of God” in the literary and socio-historical context of Genesis 6:1–4.  The article will first present presuppositions to the research, as well as the importance of Ugaritic literature in biblical studies. The investigation will then present a comparative study with the Ugaritic Epic of Kirta and a potential new theory regarding the Genesis pericope. It concludes by suggesting that literary parallels may reveal the Epic...
Topics: Sons of God, Epic of Kirta, Genesis 6:1-4, Kirta, god-kings, royal immortality
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The purpose of this article is to examine the extrabiblical evidence from the ancient church to answer which mode of baptism was most common and whether that mode was of any consequence to the early church....The initial section of this article will define four ecclesiological terms relating to baptism: partial immersion, affusion, aspersion, and submersion (total immersion). The second section will address the writings of the subapostolic era (AD 70-150), while the third segment will treat...
Topics: Early Church, Baptism, Mode of Baptism
The purpose of this article is to determine the extent, if any, of schismatic Christian influences on the Qur’an’s misunderstanding about the nature of Christ. It will identify the dissonant Christian groups present in Arabia at the time of Muhammad, as well as discuss their Christological views, the probability of Muhammad’s contact with them, and the likelihood that Muhammad borrowed from these groups in creating the Qur’anic view of Jesus. In the end, it is probable that the Qur’an...
Topics: Muhammad, Qur'an, Muhammad
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Apr 2, 2019 McLaren, Brian D.
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Applying the Buddhist “law of interdependent origination,” which states that if the conditions are right, a particular phenomenon may exist, Brian McLaren provides ten conditional factors that he believes have contributed to Ken Howard’s “religion singularity” (i.e. the multi-faceted collapse of institutional Christianity). Each condition falls under two main categories: either a lack of rapid adaptability in religious institutions or the moral failure of institutional leaders. The...
Topics: Religion Singularity, Interdependent Origination, Institutional Christianity, Adaptability, Moral...
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Kenneth Howard argues in his paper, “The Religion Singularity,” that institutional Christianity has experienced and will continue to experience an increase in the number of denominations and individual worship centers, which, along with a slower increase in the number of Christians in the US, will make institutional Christianity unsustainable in its current form. While there are, no doubt, many reasons why this religion singularity has or will take place, this paper examines the role of...
Topics: Cultural Cognition, Religion Singularity, Politics, Group Identity, Ideology, Polarization
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Mar 30, 2019 Lingelbach, John F.
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In light of Ken Howard’s recent “religion singularity” phenomenon, this article attempts to ascertain the nature of Christian diversity during the last seventy years of the first century (roughly 30 to 100 ce) . It offers an examination of the two largest Christian movements that existed before the second century, as well as when those movements may have begun and the locations they most likely flourished. The article argues that the earliest Christian tradition was the one persecuted by...
Topics: Christianity, Church Demographics, Christian Diversity, First Century Church, Religion Singularity
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Mar 30, 2019 Eller, Jack David
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This article argues that if Kenneth Howard’s prediction of a “religion singularity” is true, it should not be a worry for social scientists, who must remain neutral on religious matters.  Further, the deinstitutionalization, fragmentation, atomization, and even extinction of religion should come as no surprise to scholars who have observed these processes repeatedly. This process occurs not only in the realm of religion but in all social domains, from family and marriage to...
Topics: deinstitutionalization, religious movement, religious economy, religious evolution, crisis of...